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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Coronavirus

NCAA approves extended eligibility amid pandemic; winter-sport athletes excluded


Some spring-sport seniors, like baseball's Tyler Bielamowicz, and other athletes may be granted an extra year of eligibility after the NCAA approved a measure on Monday. | Jhair Romero/The Cougar

Some spring-sport seniors, like baseball’s Tyler Bielamowicz, and other athletes may be granted an extra year of eligibility after the NCAA approved a measure on Monday. | Jhair Romero/The Cougar

Some UH athletes who were affected by the coronavirus pandemic may have their eligibility extended after the NCAA voted Monday to approve an extra season for all spring-sport student athletes — not just seniors whose careers seemingly ended when the crisis began.

The decision, which gives the University and other members the power to authorize the measure, excluded winter-sport student athletes. It also adjusted financial aid rules to allow for more scholarship spots for incoming student athletes and those who decide to stay.

“The Council’s decision gives individual schools the flexibility to make decisions at a campus level,” said NCAA Division I Council chair M. Grace Calhoun. “The Board of Governors encouraged conferences and schools to take action in the best interest of student-athletes and their communities, and now schools have the opportunity to do that.”

NCAA rules usually give student athletes five years to complete four seasons of eligibility, but the organization’s extension could give some standout seniors like baseball’s Tyler Bielamowicz and track and field’s Tyler Scaife an extra year.

Both of their seasons were cut short when the American Athletic Conference suspended all competition March 12 due to the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The NCAA’s vote also increased the roster limit in baseball for the student athletes affected by the coronavirus.

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For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here.

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